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New mid century doors available from Therma-Tru

mid century entry doorBig news: A mass-market door manufacturer has finally introduced a line of mid century style doors. Yes, Therma-Tru has introduced a new line of retro style front doors.  The new “Pulse” line of doors — available in oak grained fiberglass, smooth (paintable) fiberglass, and steel — come in four styles: the Ari, Echo, Linea and Solei. The doors are made in Indiana, Therma-Tru told us.

Introduced in late March (2013), these mid century doors from Therma-Tru are available in several sizes, two finishes of fiberglass(wood look or paintable) or in steel and have quite a few glass options. Up until now — we knew of only two sources for mid century doors — the salvage yard/ReStore or Crestview Doors. As many readers are likely aware, Crestview Doors has been the only active manufacturer in this segment for the past five+ years.

A few differences between Therma-Tru’s and Crestview’s mid century doors:

A few differences between the two lines, as far as we can determine:

  • Therma-Tru does not have have as many “door lite” style options as Crestview.
  • Crestview’s doors are made of wood, Therma-Tru’s are fiberglass or steel…
  • Crestview offers a flush window trim option (+$450), which has more “finesse”…
  • And, while we are still trying to get a retailer to give us pricing (see pricing section, below), we are guessing that the mass-marketed Therma Tru doors will be available at a lower price point. UPDATE: Reader RetroRobin said in Comments that she just ordered a Linea with decorative glass and it was $530. It included the frame. She said that with plain glass it would have been about $100 less. We jumped over to Crestview and the comparable price for their similar Nokona door (prehung with reeded glass, delivered) is $769 (Update: There was a significant price increase during the summer of 2013. The Nokona door is now priced at $2,542).

mid century front doorFollowing is the news release from Therma-Tru on this new product launch:

Therma-Tru Launches Pulse™ Line of Entry Doors 

Therma-Tru, the nation’s leading manufacturer and most preferred brand of entry doors, has introduced the bold and inspired new line of Pulse™ modern-style doors.

Accented with clean lines and crisp angles, Pulse entry doors cater to homeowners seeking to celebrate their own special sense of style. The contemporary door styles reflect four aesthetic feelings that many homeowners wish to capture in their home entry areas: Eclectically Chic, Mid-Century Modern, Retrospective and Distinctively Modern.

“These were the show-stopper doors in our booth at the 2013 International Builders’ Show,” says Derek Fielding, senior product manager for Therma-Tru Corp. “Pulse doors capture a modern feel, but at the same time bring you back to the 1940s through 1960s when door styles were simple.

“The Mid-Century Modern style is reflected in architecture, design and even furnishings found in the home from roughly 1933 to 1965. The goal during the post-war era was to bring modernism into America’s suburban areas. For homes, the emphasis was on creating open floor plans with lots of opportunities to bring the outdoors inside. A great example is the classic home found in the old Brady Bunch television show. The interior of the home was spacious, and the front entry door had a sleek, retro style to accent the home.”

mid century retro door
Pam gasps: No inserts like this, please, if you’re trying to be true to mid century style.

Fielding also cites the simple, pure living of Distinctly Modern styles that the Pulse doors complement in the home. “Whether you’re a homeowner with a funky, personalized living space or a completely modern open style of home, these doors are ideal for you,” says Fielding. “Pulse doors deliver a unique blend of geometric glass shapes and door that can be combined to take cues from the past and future so that homeowners who crave artistic expression can select their own special door style.”

Available in oak-grained fiberglass, smooth (paintable) fiberglass and steel, Pulse doors come in both 6’8″ and 8’0″ heights. Therma-Tru offers the Pulse door line in four different styles — Ari, Solei, Echo and Linea. The doors all have four Privacy Glass options (Chord, Chinchilla, Rainglass and Granite) along with Clear Low-E and Internal Blinds. The Linea style is available with these same glass insert options plus decorative glass options of Blackstone®, Crystalline™, Sedona, Salinas®, Element, Maple Park®, Avonlea®, Saratoga™, Texas Star, Arden® and Crystal Diamonds™.

Mid century front door
Pam says: I’m not so keen on the rain glass either. Just get the CLEAR glass.

“The new Pulse product line gives design-conscious homeowners the opportunity to select an entry door that was inspired by the simple styles developed originally by architect Frank Lloyd Wright in the United States and the Bauhaus design school in Germany,” says Fielding. “These influences are timeless. We’re finding that homeowners are once again embracing this upbeat living architectural movement as they make a statement on their home with a door that complements feelings of modern sensibilities, retro glamour and fashionably chic.”

Pricing for the Therma-Tru mid century front doors

When I asked about pricing, Kathy Ziprik, Therma-Tru’s media contact, said:

One of the most important pieces of information is that homeowners are entitled to up to a $500 federal tax credit when they order ENERGY STAR qualified doors in 2013, which Pulse qualifies for! [EDITOR’s NOTE: Crestview told us that they also can work with customers to specify and design a door that qualifies for this tax credit. Also note — check the rules of this tax credit — it is our understanding that it is a one-time only credit that does not carry over to subsequent years.] Pricing information is a challenge for us, because we’re the manufacturer and don’t set the retail price for consumers. Plus, there are SO MANY variables based on the size ordered, glass ordered, location, etc., that it’s really not possible for us to supply you with this information.

Early last week, I called a local supplier and asked them look up the price for a 3′ x 6’8″ Linea style door from the Pulse line with Rainglass insert — the style and size I would choose if I were replacing my own front door. When I followed up, they told me the doors were not yet in their system, and that they would need to do more research. So be forewarned, readers: Because these doors are pretty new-to-market, you may need to press to get prices and service on them.  If anyone is truly in the market — and is successful at getting prices — we’d love if you could share the info in Comments. Thank you!

In addition, my local retailer did not have any of the doors on display yet. If you are like me and are not familiar with the look and feel of fiberglass doors — or, if you are pretty sure you’d like to see the door first — you might want to try and track down a showroom with this line on display to see how they look in person before making a decision.

About fiberglass doors

Since neither Pam nor I have had experience with fiberglass doors — and are not sure how they measure up against wood and steel entry doors — we asked Therma-Tru for info on this, as well. Kathy sent us this (excerpted):

… The polyurethane foam core [of Therma-Tru’s fiberglass doors] offers up to four times the energy efficiency of a wood door and contains no CFCs. A solid hardwood square edge for strong performance that reproduces the look of a real wood door surrounds the foam core and a wood lock stile runs the entire length of the door to add structural integrity and heft. Covering the insulation materials is a door skin. Fiberglass door skins can be made to replicate real wood (which can be stained and finished easily) or come in smooth, paintable surfaces. The fiberglass door skin resists denting, cracking, splitting and splintering. It also resists rust, shrinking or swelling with temperature changes, or warping.

Crestview Doors — the original alternative

Since Crestview Doors has, up to this date, single handedly led the revival of replacement doors in original mid century door styles, Pam contacted the company to see if they wanted to add to this story with their thoughts on  this story. Especially, we wanted any input that they could provide that could help readers considering a new front door further differentiate between the (now expanded) choices. Christiane Erwin, one of the co-owners, replied:

I have to admit we are excited to see the popularity of mid-century modernism gaining since we originally published our carefully-researched catalog of mid-century modern door designs in 2007.  But what really sets Crestview apart from other door and millwork companies is in our commitment to service.

Our designs are created with careful attention to period details and geometric perfection. We are committed to quality across all products and all levels of design and manufacturing. We sell our products via the web so you can have unlimited access and flexibility to managing the decision-making process. If that’s not enough, we have trained and qualified renovation professionals answering our phones right out of our manufacturing facility here in Austin, TX, where we handcraft all of our sustainable wood products.  They will go out of their way to help you source the ideal materials to achieve the desired look.

We are proud to represent mid-century and modern design, and we recognize the importance of balancing tradition with innovation.  We have expanded our product lines based on customer feedback to include elements from the pre- and post-war eras as well as contemporary interpretations of modernism, and we will continue to aggressively innovate on behalf of this movement. We look forward to sharing products and services that are unmistakably Crestview with the MCM community.

Thanks for the opportunity to share this with your readers,

Christiane

Yes, the Retro Renovation universe of product alternatives for mid century modern and modest houses continue to expand!

Update: Barbra installs Therma-Tru doors:

front entry door retro
Barbra said: “I’d like to relate some horror story to show the pain and suffering I endured to justify that I waited THREE years to do this, but it was embarrassingly easy.”

Links to these products, and our archive of mid century curb appeal ideas:

  1. Janice says:

    HI Pam, yes, I think I did send pictures when we finished the project. Let me know if you can’t find it and I’ll see if I can locate them on my end. Thank you!

  2. Jason Moreland says:

    I see Solei style doors on the mid century modern homes here in Palm Springs all the time. Folks have been installing them since before Crestview was in business. We were a bit early to the trend here in PS though….

  3. Sarah g (roundhouse) says:

    The linea right and left put together as double doors looks just like my doors that we made custom for my front porch makeover!! I couldn’t find anything MCM or even just modern when I was door hunting locally, nice to know there will be more options for the next person.

  4. Jay says:

    Robin, “Grover” is the style of my front door except it’s the original door from 57. I think it was probably the most common door out there in the 50/60s.

  5. Jay says:

    These styles are great for true MC modern, not so much for MC modest which is the home I have. As others have commented, it’s the weather stripping on doors that’s most important especially in cold climes. Since my door is solid wood and still airtight, I haven’t made an effort on replacement. I don’t want a fiberglass door and new solid wood doors have become expensive. You can still obtain them through old fashioned lumberyards. It seems most people have bought into the marketing of steel and fiberglass doors for insulation and security.

  6. Robin, NV says:

    My house epitomizes “mid century modest.” The Grover is the perfect door for it. I played around with Crestview’s “Door-o-Vision” and found that the Grover looked just right. The few houses in my neighborhood that retain their original doors have either a Grover-style door or a single diamond shaped light. The front door that came with my house is just a plain slab. It’s in terrible shape and is a hollow core door so I’m finally replacing it with something sturdier. I am keeping the original hardware though. The escutcheon around the knob isn’t fancy but I like it.

  7. Chad says:

    What part of your doors is drafty? Weatherstripping and stormdoors are easy fixes, and then you can put screens on your door when it’s nice out.

  8. Chad says:

    Yeah in the Philadelphia area I’ve almost never seen flush doors on midcentury houses. My grandfather’s split level had flush interior doors but paneled exterior. I have a friend who lives in a very mid-century modest “air lite” rowhouse in the city, with a door made of V grooved planks with three rectangular glass panels at staggered heights. It sort of reminds me of a hybrid between MCM and (much fancier) 1930’s tudor.

  9. pam kueber says:

    I just removed my initial caveats re Solei and Ari. I will take your word for seeing Solei style originals in your neighborhood, and I was just paging through a 1956 magazine and I saw a front door very similar to the Ari. So they both do look to have solid links to the past.

  10. Kimberj says:

    I’m soooooo bummed 🙁 We bought Therma Tru double front doors last August and had to get solid fiberglas with no windows. At that time they offered nothing that fit the house. By the way folks… they are wonderful doors, very secure and super efficient thermally.

  11. Kimberj says:

    I wanted to add that since we intended to paint flat doors mustard yellow to begin with, the fiberglas option is perfect for us. It truly doesn’t dent like steel or peel like wood. Eventually we plan to make the doors more like a work of art so maybe we’re better off without the windows. Just another FYI: I called both our security system and home insurance providers and talked with the local policeman who stopped by to see how the renovation was coming before we chose the doors. All three recommended a fiberglas door over wood or steel. They are much tougher to break into and almost all fiberglas exterior doors have a thick steel inner core. We actually got a small price break on our home insurance for putting in the fiberglas as they are certified as firewalls too. With the tax credit and other savings we almost got half of the double doors for free.
    The original doors were too damaged to salvage. The wood around the door knob and latch had been shattered. When we took possession of it last June the doors were literally chained together with a heavy padlock from the inside. We could only come in the back door until it was replaced.

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